A lawsuit alleging sexism and harassment under the current leadership at the Atlantic County Prosecutor’s Office has been moved to Cumberland County.
One-time acting Atlantic County Prosecutor Diane Ruberton, retired Detective Lt. Heather McManus and current Chief Prosecutor Donna Fetzer filed suit in January, following a letter in which they asked for the Attorney General’s Office to investigate.
The allegations include claims that Atlantic County Prosecutor Damon Tyner committed mortgage fraud.
Also named in the suit is Tyner’s second-in-command, First Assistant Prosecutor Cary Shill, along with Deputy First Assistant Prosecutor Mario Formica.
A defense motion asked that the case be moved out of Atlantic County, citing the publicity of the case, and Tyner’s previous position as a judge in Atlantic County Superior Court.
The motion also claimed a conflict based upon the potential witnesses, which include two sitting Atlantic County judges.
Attorney Michelle Douglass, who represents the three women, argued against the motion, pointing out that they were actually required to file in the county where the allegations happened, and saying it was important that the Atlantic County taxpayers have the ability to weigh in on the what’s happening, which would not happen with a potential jury pool coming from another county.
In an oral decision, Assignment Judge Julio Mendez agreed to move the case to Vicinage XV, which encompasses Cumberland, Gloucester and Salem counties.
To avoid the case being moved farther from Atlantic County, the plaintiffs then withdrew their suit in Atlantic County and re-filed in Cumberland.
Those close to the case say it is expected to go to trial.
Tyner’s attorney William Tambussi — who is the attorney for Camden political powerbroker George Norcross — has not returned calls and emails seeking comment.
No court dates have yet been scheduled in the case. The defense has not yet filed an answer to the allegations.